Journey to Tokyo: Texas gymnast heads back to the mats

Road to the Olympics

(NEXSTAR) — The postponement of the Olympic Games has been a struggle for some athletes, but the extra year of training means some athletes nursing injuries now have the chance to vault toward the biggest stage.

Just weeks after the postponement of the Olympic Games, Texas native Hannah Hagle made the decision to get back in the game. She called her coaches to let them know she was ready to get back on the mat.

“I told them I had unfinished business to do, in elite, and I wanted to accomplish some goals that I wanted to do in previous years, but didn’t get the chance to.”

In 2018, an injury sidelined Hagle, putting those goals out of reach.

“When she called and said she had unfinished business, I mean, I just got chills right now again because, um, without that fire, um, it’s hard,” said Stacy Panfil-Parsley, co-owner of Texas East Gymnastics.

In 2018, Hagle had to sit out a year of training because of a stress fracture in her back. “It was so hard, seeing … just not being able to do something you’re so passionate about,” Hagle said. “Just doing conditioning and flex, it was hard.”

Panfil-Parsley said Hagle is a talented gymnast with a devotion that sets her apart from other athletes.

“There’s just a couple of athletes that we’ve worked with who have the tenacity to attack rehab as she did, and that’s what makes the difference in someone who is great and someone who is good,” said Panfil-Parsley.

Now with an extra year to train before the Tokyo Games, Hagle has her sights set on the biggest stage.

“Words cannot even describe it, because this is something I’ve been working toward my whole life, and to have setback, after setback, after setback, and to finally come back, that big would be amazing,” said Hagle.

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